I'm trying to pull together information for an article on challenges and successes when incorporating small multi-family residential projects into neighborhoods. I'm hoping you pros can let me know if my assumptions are correct and offer some good examples.
My understanding is that many planning trends today call for increased density as well as seek to diversify communities, moving from neighborhoods with only one type of housing to more mixed environments. That means building more apartment complexes, townhomes and condo projects and integrating them into neighborhoods.
However, several barriers remain to these projects. Here's what I've been told:
* Financing. The financing system in the U.S. is set up to handle large multi-family projects (in the 500+ range). It is difficult to get loans underwritten for smaller projects, since the risk is perceived as greater.
* Zoning. New zoning trends that allow for a greater mix of housing types help overcome this challenge, but even in cities that claim they want higher densities, the process remains complicated and time-consuming.
Here are my questions:
As of now, I've spoken mainly to people in Texas and the Southwest. Is my information correct across the U.S.? Or are some of these problems regional? What's the situation elsewhere? (Note: I've got to keep the story U.S.-specific. I realize the situation in Europe or elsewhere would be different.)
Can you suggest success stories of communities that have successfully incorporated small multi-family projects into either a new development or as infill?